AFI: “Crash Love”

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October 2, 2009

12:26 AM

I am admittedly an AFI novice. I had never heard any of their songs, didn’t know that AFI stands for “A Fire Inside,” and initially thought they were the band Alien Ant Farm. That kind of novice. That being said, I can now make a few educated statements after having listened to their new album, “Crash Love.”

This is the music Edward Cullen would bang to — it is brooding, frantic, atmospheric and breathless. AFI are wizards of dynamics. The perfectly placed crescendos and silences peppering the album give it a visceral, carnal rhythm.

However, the boys of AFI seem to be allergic to major chords. Nearly the entire album is set in a melancholy key. That is certainly not a bad thing in general, but it does reflect a lack of range. When you can listen to the 30-second clips on iTunes and notice that every song sounds the same, it doesn’t bode well for the staying power of an album.
Yet there are some sonic highlights to be savored. The opening track, “Torch Song,” is a carnival of soaring harmonies, virtuoso guitar work by Jade Puget — who shines on the entire album — and earnest and believable songwriting. In final track, “Too Late for Gods,” lead singer Davey Havok exposes his vulnerable side without the facade of teenage angst that runs rampant on most of the album.

Crash Love is a musically impressive record. It showcases talented musicians performing well-written music. However, once you’ve heard the first track, you’ve heard the fourth, and the ninth, and the fourteenth, and the rest of them until you’re left with a relatively forgettable album.

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